Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dark Corners and Open Spaces

Dark corners seem seductive sometimes. They are secretive and mysterious. Exciting even. Things that are whispered in dark corners are often titillating... things that wouldn't be spoken out in the open. Plots, schemes, complaints, juicy tidbits of gossip. In dark corners, you can say things without having to take too much responsibility for them. Some people may be suspicious of what hides in the dark corners, but it's an easy place to hide.

It's much safer than what happens out in the open. In open spaces, things cannot be quite so easily hidden. It may not be as exciting, but things spoken out in the open are often more honest. There's a greater likelihood that someone will be held accountable for something done where everyone can see and hear. It certainly seems more risky and vulnerable than the dark corners.

But actually, if we want our complaints and concerns addressed, there is a greater likelihood that we will get what we want when we are willing to be honest and open about them. If we can look someone in the eye and communicate openly about what we want, that individual actually has a chance to respond. Going into dark corners and whispering may be more exciting, but it often doesn't give anyone an opportunity to respond meaningfully. It does allow us the illusion that we don't have to take responsibility for our part in things... that someone else is responsible for dealing with our issues.

Unless what we really want is to complain without consequence, to create dissension or anxiety, to find collusion rather than solution. I find it difficult to believe that anyone truly wants that, deep down in the core of their being. Perhaps I am being naive, but it seems obvious that there is no real power or peace in the dark corners. As I see it, the true power comes from a willingness to connect with another person, even one with whom I have differences, openly and honestly. Then, our creativity can be engaged in finding ways forward in partnership. There isn't really any way forward from a dark corner, except out into the open.

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